So in late summer 2012 we noticed that there was a new crack in the basement wall.

Basement crack

And then we noticed that the door into the garage had started rubbing (top right).

Kitchen door

We called in the guys with a laser level and they found that the far corner of the house was an inch lower than the near corner.

East side of house

So before we knew it, what looked like this . . .

Deck before

Became this . . .

Big ditch

Once they were down to the footer, they used an impact drill to make a series of holes to remove a chunk.

Take a bite

They smoothed out the footer directly under the wall and put in a bracket.


Then a big hydraulic ram was attached to the bracket.

Driver ram

And they used the weight of the house to push these steel pieces into the ground, three feet at a time. All but one of ours went down 45 feet (the one stopped at 30).

Pier sections

When the hydraulic pressure got up to 5,000 psi and the pier stopped going down they declared it "solid" and attached a cap.

Capped pier and bracket

The piers have to be no more than six feet apart. So this process was repeated 13 times.

South trench piers

When the piers were all set, a small hydraulic ram was attached to each pier.

Small ram

And the rams were daisy-chained together . . .

Daisy-chained rams

And a little electric hydraulic pump was attached.

Electric hydraulic pump

After four days of digging and drilling and hydraulic pressing, they "bumped" the electric pump and lifted the corner of the house. After each "bump" we checked the doors and walls and the laser level. The "lift" was done in 15 minutes.

The silver lining in this was that we got a top-drawer drain tile on the uphill side of the house. It started with a big sump tube.

Sump tube

A sheet of dimpled plastic was attached to the wall and capped. Any water that gets behind it will run down to the footer.


The trench was filled about 6 inches above the footer with pea gravel.

Pea gravel

The trench was back filled and tamped down.

East side back fill

That's the sump outlet at the bottom. The funny white pipe is a freeze proof connection to a sump pump under the basement stairs.

South side back fill

They pulled out the laser level again and put pins in the wall for future reference.

Laser and pin

When the lift was complete the crack in the basement wall didn't quite close up. But the vibration from the packer as they backfilled the trench closed it the rest of the way.

Crack - after

We poured a larger pad so that we'll have the option of setting the garbage hoppers outside.

New pad

The new deck is wider so that the steps aren't so goofy.

Laser and pin

Iron rails are under construction - check back in a month or so to see them. All the grass and plantings will be done in the spring.